by Brian Perry Jr.
OG Planet has had experience with the Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs) genre, hosting well-known games such as Cabal Online, Rumble Fighters, and Albatross 18. To some peoples surprise though, OG Planet has hosted and tested a new game that is very similar to Maple Story. LaTale, the next Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) hosted by OG Planet, went into Open Beta phase to allow any players to test or try out the new MMORPG.
However, those who didnt try out the Open Beta, most will ask, “What was LaTale like?”
LaTale played as a 2D sidescrolling MMORPG. Having heard this, most will find LaTale as a clone to Maple Story. However, the customization and battle system were far apart from the two games. The customization of how a character looks, fights, and learns [skills] was dependent on the player.
Sound-wise and graphically, LaTale is very cutesy. The characters are anime-like and deformed, but not to the point as the characters in Maple Story. However, when I heard the intro of the login screen, I thought the game was directed for female audiences. Even the music, although anime-like, sounded feminine.
Aside from judging the sound and the looks of the game, I created a character, and I was actually spending time wondering how my character should look like. The depth of customization from the hairstyle and color, eyes, and clothing color was vast. In addition, I was also able to choose the gender and the job class I wanted. Although I will not discuss the convenience of choosing genders, having the job class available on the first level with in-depth descriptions is a great way to orient new players into the game.
After creating the character, I stepped into the world of LaTale. However, for new players including me, it was an intimidating task. The game does give you basic information on how the game plays, but since I wanted to know more about the game, talking to the NPC trainees to know more about the game was just a chore to know. After leaving the tutorial area, I was just confused and lost. I did not know what to do and what happened. Even with a level up, I did not understand what went on. I was on the verge of giving up, but thanks to Strata and ~UnknownBandit~ of Hidden-Street.net, I was able to understand the game more. I hope that OG Planet does explain the effects of what each event does and what happens after each occurrence.
Aside from the complaints, the battle system and the customization were LaTales main aspects of the game. For the job classes, the status points are fixed as you level up, but what skills you use and what weapon mastery you want is up to you. In the character selection menu, I counted that there were nine weapons in total that can be used, but two weapons were commonly equipped, knuckles for all classes and daggers for two classes.
The skill tree customization had its perks also. For every level up I gained one point for skills. This may sound rather meager, but in all honesty, the one skill point does great justice in the ultimate question, what should I spend it on? There were two skills tiers that points could be spent on, the support and the weapon skill tree tiers. However, before spending the point, I had to buy the skills that I wanted. While buying a skill is a negative, since the player may be under financial turmoil in the game, the feeling of earning a skill that helps combat or support the player is a great feeling. Should the player ever feel the boredom of their weapons, that player can buy a skill point reset for about 100,000 game currency.
The job system is pretty standard; you have Warriors for dealing high close range damage, Knights for tanking, Wizards for spell casting, and Explorers for long-range and item looting. Of the three classes that I played, Knight, Explorer, and Warrior, I found Explorers to be enjoyable for a new player to use. I did not play Wizards in depth simply because LaTale did not do a great job in what each tier of magic was great for. Wizards respectfully possibly may have the most customization in their skill tree, but they indeed have the most confusing builds on what should be done. Because Wizards are popular in the MMORPG job class category, this aspect shuns new players from using this particular job class as the starting first character. I do have hopes that LaTale and OG Planet will somehow resolve this issue.
The battle system is simplistic but developed into an economic way. LaTale offers two ways to attack, using a weak but fast attack or a strong but slow attack. What is interesting is that each weapon has a different effect when attacking single or multiple enemies as well as attack speed. For example, knuckles have the fastest attack speed but are weak in dealing single strikes, while spears and two-handed swords have great weapon attack and have automatic splash damage sacrificing attack speed. Magic was a different story, because mages could cast magic using different weapons, but using staves boosted their magic power and accuracy, and each elemental spell had different attacking styles, with wind being the fastest but weakest and vice versa with fire.
After sorting much confusion, LaTale was very friendly with supporting players with economical needs. The beginning quests supported players with game currency, potions, equipment, and experience. Because most of the skills drain a large amount of skill points (SP), this allows players to be support themselves easily by completing quests. In addition, the quests vary from hunting drops or certain amount of monsters and going from point A to point B.
Another convenience for me was that I was able to select the way and spawn point. For example, if I died, I would not spawn at the nearest town, but rather at these “respawn stones” or waypoints if I wanted to. However, when dying, I do lose experience and money, but an item called Iron Will prevents the loss of experience and money.
Although LaTale has good customization and gameplay, the game irks me. There are gameplay issues such as not being able to run and jump and climb a rope or ladder, but rather the community was the main setback. After OG Planet released the cash shop, with microphones included, I suddenly got to know the true face of the community. Not only the community acted poorly, but also acted immature. The whole server was filled with server chat regarding about mature themes, flames of a player, immaturity, and particularly bashing and comparing Maple Story and LaTale. An event occurred with the microphones regarding about my connection with the game and the players online. Because the microphones were recently released, my connection became unstable. I asked the community if they faced lag. However, the players denied, and instead replying as polite users, they insulted my computer and me. Not only that, the constant flow of microphone chat was nonstop that regular chat, buddy, guild, and whisper chat was impossible. Although this is Open Beta phase, the microphones were inexpensive and came in a bountiful amount.
Lastly, the game just had too many bugs. People exploited a certain town spawn point and gained millions of experience points. I also experienced a bug similar, but it was raising skill tree points instead of raising experience points.
Overall, LaTale had its ups and downs. Gameplay wise, it was fun playing as a crossbow Explorer, but with the obstacles of the community, gameplay issues, and bugs, I do have doubts when this game will commercially be released. For a person that has played Maple Story for two years, I may play LaTale, but with technical reasons, I may have to rethink this decision.